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In 1940, after King Carol II was dethroned by Marshal Ion Antonescu, King Michael ascends for the second time on the throne of Romania, but he sees himself confronted with an overwhelming reality: the Second World War and an extremely international politics complex.

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In fact, his role is more formal, the real decision-making power being in the hands of Marshal Antonescu. As Prime Minister, Antonescu governs with dictatorial powers, keeping the young king away from any political decision. It is an application of the political concept "the king reigns but does not govern," which is found, for example, in the English monarchy.

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In the first picture from left to right: King Michael,Queen Mother Helena and Marshal Ion Antonescu. Second: Michael and Marshal Ion Antonescu on the banks of Prut River.

A clear proof of the king's isolation from political life is that he and his mother find out of Romania's entry into war on Germany, not from Marshal Antonescu himself, but from the radio.

"Antonescu did all the work then. I was totally excluded as usual. (...) Even the fact that we entered the war, my mother heard at the BBC. She walked in a morning and she said she heard from the BBC that Romania had declared war on Russia. "

(King Michael, Fragment of the interview by John Florescu)

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Hitler was very interested in the Romanian oil, which fed almost half of the German tanks on the battlefield, especially thanks to the Ploiesti refineries. And General Antonescu was interested in recovering the historical regions lost in 1940 following the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, which is why the Führer promised him the retrocession of the territories in exchange for Romania's involvement in the war.

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"His plan was to follow the Germans and be as close as possible to them because, moving eastwards to Russia, we would regain Transylvania later." (King Michael, Fragment of John Florescu's interview)

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Initially, the strategy seems to be successful, territories being recaptured for a short period of time. However, Marshal Antonescu gradually exceeds the limits of the original plan and advances with the Romanian army on Soviet territory, engaging fully in war on the side of Germany and suffering huge losses among the Romanian soldiers.

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The price of the alliance promised by Marshal Antonescu proves to be extremely high: 794,562 dead, missing and injured, on the eastern and western front, with great human losses in the battles of Odessa (1941) and Stalingrad (1942-1943) .

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Another dark side of the war is the persecution of the Jews and their deportation to concentration camps. Revolted from the "imposed" treatment of the Germans, both King Michael and his mother, Queen Helena, are making efforts to prevent the extermination of the Jews in Romania, intervening with Marshal Antonescu, and sending trucks and food to those sent to Transnistria.

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Conscious that the country is heading in the wrong direction, King Michael is seeking persistent methods of joining the Allies. In 1943, he sent a coded message to President Roosevelt, telling him that Romania is willing to release certain portions of land so Allied troops can land and undertake a surprise attack against the Germans. Unfortunately, King Michael did not receive the desired answer.

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